eBay UK chief Rob Hattrell predicts similar retail conditions in 2019

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The head of eBay in the UK, Rob Hattrell, predicts that the commercial challenges and the retail environment will remain similar in 2019 and Brexit is a crucial concern that is impacting both online and retail sales. He also notes that his view is that online retail need not be the enemy of the High Street and both can prosper alongside each other.

As he said in a statement released on Christmas Eve:

Thanks to the hard work of our sellers, we’ve had a strong 2018 in the UK. This Black Friday was our biggest ever, with 100 million Brits visiting our marketplace over the deals weekend.
 

This year hasn’t been plain sailing for everyone in retail and I expect 2019 to continue in a similar vein, with new technology, changing consumer demands and Brexit uncertainty having a big impact on the High Street. Despite that, I’m optimistic about the future. What we see on eBay, through the 200,000 small businesses we work with, is that entrepreneurs in this country are hugely agile and able to respond to challenges at speed. Ultimately it’s these entrepreneurs who will help reconfigure the economy for the future.
– Rob Hattrell, Vice President of eBay in the UK

The statement has been double checked and it does indeed say that 100 million Brits visited the site over the cyber weekend and, seeing as there aren’t yet quite so many, we suspect he means that there were one hundred million unique visits over that period.

And to some extent we agree with his sentiments and there is cause for optimism as we enter 2019 but, equally, there are causes for concern and the huge uncertainty of what a hard Brexit could mean in less than three months is paramount there.

The UK government has urged British business to start preparing for a no deal scenario and is offering information. We wonder if, in due course, eBay UK will also be issuing advice to merchants about that potential, and increasingly possible, outcome.

3 Responses

  1. I met with Rob at the eBay UK Seller Council at their Richmond HQ in October. He’s a very good guy and has the interests of eBay at heart.
    One of the main issues eBay has according to Rob is gaining ‘trust’. Over the last couple of years eBay has improved a lot in this respect.
    Unfortunately for Q4 eBay has tested promoted listings at spot 1, 4 and 5 in best match, as opposed to spot 5 (highest promoted listing place).
    For me this has seen an increase in promoted listing spend (as a proportion of my monthly final value fees) just from around 10% on average to over 30%. It’s also seen sales drop by a third in Q4 compared to the middle of the year.
    This test is definitely going on until the start of the year. I just hope this ends as there are too many sellers just throwing money at promoted listings to get top spot and eBay’s ‘best match’ is now not not that. It’s now ‘biggest spender’.

  2. We the public just aren’t buying as many presents anymore. We can’t we’re broke. Secret Santa is sweeping the nation and long may it continue. Pull names out of a hat and buy just one present rather than 20 or 30 or 40… . Saves a huge amount of money, time, stress, pressure etc. In my family we don’t even send Xmas cards anymore, if we all do it then nobody is offended! Xmas is about spending time together, not money. For years us consumers have has xmas rammed down our throats and pressured to spend spend spend by the retail giants and times are clearly changing. My heart bleeds for Ebay…..not!

  3. I don’t feel sorry for High Street at all (maybe apart from people losing jobs, which is a different topic). The thing is – if the business is not willing to adapt for the MASSIVE change in how people are shopping nowadays, that company has no grounds to stay in operations. Don’t blame the internet or Amazon that they’re taking your customers away – you can’t change the direction of this, all you can do is adapt your business to move forward. If you’re not doing it, it’s your fault.

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